Spatial Analysis: Principles and Methods - DI530

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR I Tzanopoulos







The overall aim of this module is to provide students with an outline of the principals of Spatial Analysis and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to the development of students’ analysis skills through the use of remote sensing techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS are increasingly being used in wildlife conservation and environmental sciences in general to help solve a wide range of “real world” environmental and associated social problems. As the current trend in ecological studies moves towards the acquisition manipulation and analysis of large datasets with explicit geographic reference, employers often report shortages of relevant GIS skills to handle spatial data. Thus, this module will introduce the use of GIS as a means of solving spatial problems and the potential of GIS and remote sensing techniques for wildlife conservation providing the student with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs. Topics will include:
  • understanding the major concepts in Spatial Analysis;
  • introduction to the principles of GIS;
  • introduction to remote sensing
  • data structures in GIS;
  • data sources and methods of data acquisition
  • georeferencing, co-ordinate systems and projections
  • working with raster and vector data
  • mapping (how to create and transform maps),
  • ArcGIS -overview of ArcGIS, ArcMap, ArcCatalog; ArcToolbox, Spatial Analyst.
  • GIS operations (Calculating area, Intersection of polygons etc)
  • manipulation, spatial data query and analysis of a wide range of environmental and socio-economic information relevant to wildlife conservation
  • These topics will be taught using a combination of lectures and practicals. The practical classes will provide hands-on experience using ArcGIS which is the most widely used GIS system. Students will be able to use knowledge and skills acquired in this module in practical project work.


    This module appears in:

    Contact hours

    • Lectures (one hour per week) which will explain the theory of the topics and practice of the techniques used (total hours: 11).
    •Computer based practicals to acquire hands-on experience using ArcGIS (one hour per week following the lectures) (total hours: 11)
    Seminars where students will present and discuss their work - the small projects that they will carry out working in groups of 4-5 (total hours 2)

    24 hours


    This module contributes:
    BSc in Wildlife Conservation

    Method of assessment

    • An individual practical report around 400 words in length including generated maps, technical description and map interpretation (20%)
    • A group project based on solving a particular problem – Group powerpoint presentation and discussion of the results during the seminars (20%)
    • An assessment exercise - individual report around 800-900 words in lenght- on solving a particular problem related to wildlife conservation (60%). Students will be asked to acquire, map, manipulate and analyse data and provide and interpretation of the results

    Preliminary reading

    Bernhardsen, T. (2002) Geographic Information Systems: an Introduction, 3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    Berry, J. K. (1995) Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS. GIS World Books, Fort Collins, Colorado.

    Burrough, P. A. and McDonnell, R. A. (1998) Principles of Geographical Information Systems, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Campbell, J. B. (2002) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 3rd edition. Taylor & Francis, London.
    Goodchild, M. F., Steyaert, L. T., Parks, B. O., Johnston, C. O., Crane, M. P. and Glendinning, S. (eds) (1996) GIS and Environmental Modeling: Progress and Research Issues. GIS World Books, Fort Collins.

    Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., and Carver, S. (2006). An introduction to Geographical Information Systems. 3rd edition. Pearson, Harlow.

    Jones, C. B. (1997) Geographical Information Systems and Computer Cartography. Longman, Harlow.

    Johnston, C.A. (1998) Geographical Information Systems in Ecology. Oxford, Blackwell Science.

    Lillesand, T. M. , Kiefer R. W. and Chipman J. W. (2007) Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation, 6th edn. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    Wadsworth, R. and Treweek, J. (1999) GIS for Ecology: an Introduction. Longman, Harlow.

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    12.1 Knowledge of the generic concepts spatial analysis and an understanding of the application of GIS and remote sensing for biodiversity conservation using real world examples
    12.2 Ability to acquire and combine data from multiple sources in a GIS to solve practical problems in wildlife conservation
    12.3 An understanding of the principals underlying the analysis of spatial data and remote sensing data
    12.4 Practical knowledge of GIS analytical techniques and how to use them to generate, map, analyse and describe environmental data
    12.5 Ability to generate and critically evaluate GIS and remote sensing outcomes and write reports on GIS mapping and analysis

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